The Oakland Athletics are most definitely taking a close look at their roster right now as they prepare for offseason trades and acquisitions. With so few roster spots open right now, the A’s are going to need to designated players for assignment, place some on waivers, and even let some go entirely. One way to make room on the roster is to take a hard look at the non-tender candidates and decide if it is worth offering a contract to these players. For those non-tender candidates currently on the A’s roster, Oakland will have to decide if they want to keep them or let them go by December 2.
What does it mean to be non-tender eligible? To be a non-tender candidate means that the arbitration-eligible player does not have to be offered a contract by their team even though they are still under team control. If the team does not offer them a contract, the player becomes a free agent and is available to sign with any other organization. December 2 is this year’s deadline for teams to tender contracts to those arbitration-eligible players or release them, so they can become free agents.
The Athletics have five major players that are non-tender candidates: Sam Fuld, Craig Gentry, Felix Doubront, Evan Scribner, and Ike Davis. Ultimately, the A’s do not need to offer any of these players contracts for the 2016 season even though none of them are free agents this offseason. However, in order to clear up space on their roster, the A’s are definitely going to evaluate these players very closely and decide whether it is worth bringing them back next year.
When it comes to Sam Fuld and Craig Gentry, it has become pretty obvious that one of them needs to go. Both are great defensively, but both lack power at the plate. Additionally, there are a lot of other outfielders vying for a job and the A’s do not need two similar players on their roster – they need some variety. The likely scenario is that the Oakland Athletics keep Fuld and get rid of Gentry. Gentry had a horrible start to the year and spent most of the season in Triple-A due to his poor offensive performance. The A’s even brought him back up in September since he had improved while with the Nashville Sounds, but he once again floundered at the plate.
Also, Fuld has a lot more experience playing in left field than Gentry. It is likely that left will be the only open outfield position since Billy Burns and Josh Reddick will cover center and right respectively. Fuld played in left field a lot during the 2015 season due to Coco Crisp’s injury and proved to be a quality fielder in that position. In the end, it would not be surprising for Oakland offer Fuld a contract and not Gentry.
Then there are the two pitchers – Doubront and Scribner. Honestly, the A’s do not need Doubront. They have enough starting pitching talent on their roster and he only came in handy this year because of the numerous injuries that affected the starting rotation toward the end of the season. He is inconsistent and his skills are not up to par with the rest of the A’s pitching staff. It is not worth it to have Doubront take up a roster spot.
Scribner is a little bit of a different story. He was great at the beginning of the year and many saw him as the new eighth inning set up man. However, his success declined as the season progressed and he ultimately landed on the disabled list with a torn right lat muscle in September. It may be worth giving him another chance since his injury could have been affecting his performance on the mound, and it is predicted he will make less than a million dollars next season. He would be a cheap option for the A’s and has proven in the past that he can be successful.
Lastly there is Davis. Davis is a tricky one. He did not perform as expected offensively and did go down with injuries twice during the season. However, he proved that he had Gold Glove quality fielding skills as first base. Even though it would nice to think that rookie Mark Canha can be the Oakland Athletics’ everyday starting first baseman in 2016, the likelihood of that is low. It would be beneficial to keep a veteran first baseman on the team to help mentor Canha and provide quality defense in that position – especially since there are no other starting first baseman on the team besides Canha and Davis. Yes, the A’s have multiple players that can field at first, but it is not their normal position.
Davis did undergo hip surgery in late August and is expected to be healthy for spring training in 2016. However, out of all of the non-tender candidates, his salary is projected to be the highest for next season. It will be up the Oakland Athletics to determine if they think it is worth it to offer Davis a contract or if they think they can find someone better, cheaper and healthier on the free agent market.
The Oakland Athletics will have some decisions to make before December 2. It would not be unlikely to see most of these players go. The A’s are looking to rebuild and they will need space on their roster.